VIBE – Analyzing Morale in the Modern Age

You used to have to walk the halls of your company to understand morale. No longer.

It used to be that a CEO of a company had to walk up and down the halls of his or her company to get a good beat on what morale was like. If he or she wanted to know how someone was feeling, what made them happy or upset, or what drove them – an actual personal interaction and conversation would have to happen. Kiss those days goodbye. Now that same CEO can demand that all communication within the company be done on Slack – and he or she can use VIBE to analyze the sentiment around the office. In fact, there are forty apps promoted on the Slack website under the tag ‘Analytics’ alone! If a CEO wants to know what employees are going to leave – they can analyze their Slack usage and see that someone has become less engaged, among other things. In this post I will focus on VIBE – and sentiment analysis is not a new idea, it’s execution is simply evolving.  

VIBE evaluates a team morale over five emotions: happiness, irritation, disapproval, disappointment, and stress. As the number of VIBE clients increase, the more data VIBE collects, and the better its algorithm gets at ‘reading the room’. VIBE is is an application built solely for Slack. While this puts the future of VIBE in Slack’s hands, there are no other competitors on the Slack platform for sentiment analysis.

Oftentimes, people think of data-driven businesses as numbers-oriented businesses. But data can take many shapes and forms. In VIBE’s case, a majority of the data it analyzes is words, but perhaps some of its most telling data comes from emoji. Like any major data player, sample size is extremely important. A startup company that has very little flow through the Slack platform is unlikely to reap benefits from a product like VIBE. However, this works because at a small startup you are likely all sitting in close quarters and you know the morale of your team all too well. VIBE seems to deliver the most value to a company that has multiple teams and a couple hundred employees – where the morale for each team is not overtly clear, and the amount of slack data VIBE is able to analyze is large enough.

The value capture for VIBE is clear. They begin with a freemium model where you are able to analyze one slack channel for free. However, if you want more detailed reporting and the ability to analyze as many slack channels as you would like, pricing increases from $0, to $50 per month, to $120 per month.

VIBE is betting that Slack is the way all companies will communicate in the future. In this way, it is a bit hamstrung when it comes to other communications systems disrupting Slack. Additionally, while VIBE has the opportunity to begin providing services outside of its core competency of understanding emotions, there are many new applications developed on Slack each year and it will be tough to continue to improve upon the VIBE value proposition without stepping on other apps’ core competencies.  

 You can learn more about VIBE at https://vibe.work/#about

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6 thoughts on “VIBE – Analyzing Morale in the Modern Age

  1. Andrew – this is super interesting, thank you for this post.

    I imagine one major challenge to VIBE’s success is that slack users must be unaware of VIBE, or willing to be analyzed, in order for it to be sustainable. For example, if I knew the CEO was getting a report about disgruntled employees based on their Slack chatter – and I was a disgruntled employee – I might switch to texting or emailing my coworkers when I wanted to complain, to avoid the CEO’s/VIBE’s notice. Or I might simply encourage my circle of colleagues to switch to a different chat platform, such as GroupMe, if that were an option.

    Does VIBE have plans to be ubiquitously integrated with all platforms? How can they maintain their edge when the data points can easily defect?

  2. thanks for the post Andrew. This is really interesting. If I were a management of a firm, I definitely want this kind of system that I can understand the employees’ morale without having conversation with them in order to avoid bias or dishonest expression.
    Said that, I have a same concern with Sonali that if employees are aware of the system they would be cautious enough to avoid using words or emojis to make employees think they have some problem. On contrary, it seems hard to implement the system without noticing employees as the initiative may raise employees resentment due to privacy or distrust issue. I wonder how VIBE thinks about the issue and overcome.

  3. Cool post Andrew. I’m wondering how VIBE is able to determine whether the data being interpreted is accurate. Do you think they need to take pulse checks / feedback on morale from employees directly to compare with the interpreted data? I also feel if top managers start relying too much on these tools, they may reduce interaction with lower level employees which may negatively impact sentiment and morale since it creates more of a power divide in the organization.

  4. Thanks, Andrew. Really interesting. And dovetails nicely with our Platform module — this definitely adds value/stickiness to Slack’s platform.

    My initial reaction to the idea was an exasperated “why can’t managers just do a better job of talking and developing relationships with their team members????” The idea of a manager sitting behind his or her computer looking at numbers rather than just walking out of their office and being with the people seemed a little ridiculous to me. But I’ve come around and agree entirely that 1) it can be a directional tool, not a complete replacement for in-person judgement; 2) it can be great to understand macro sentiment if you’re at a large company. As a nexecutive of large company, you would obviously hope that you hire the right middle managers that will understand moral, but that’s obviously not always the case; and lastly 3) I think we are increasingly moving to a remote workplace model. More and more companies and teams will stretch across multiple locations. This can be a really great tool in these instances where you really can’t just walk out of your office and talk to teammates.

  5. Thanks, Andrew – this is fascinating. I have similar concerns as those mentioned above, and I agree with Kyla that this is an interesting supplementary tool. It also brings up the issue of privacy and how far companies can/should go in collecting data – as an employee, I wouldn’t be thrilled to learn that all my Slack messages were analyzed and then categorized, even anonymously. And it’s dangerous if a CEO starts to rely on this exclusively; in-person conversations, structured feedback, etc. are important ways for a CEO to be connected to his or her organization.

  6. Thanks Andrew! I agree with the privacy issues mentioned above but realized at my summer job that Slack isn’t actually private at all – employees live in a facade that it is a private IM tool but in fact the employer owns all the data which is probably why such tools can be built for the application. I am sure there are so many other use cases to analyze the data going through Slack, and VIBE may want to soon integrate with other data sets in the organization to start predicting key events…like when an employee will quit?

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